2 years ago, this actor praised a groundbreaking play. Now he's its history-making star.

Two years ago, actor Mickey Rowe said he was jazzed about the success of a new show, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

The play, an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s 2003 book, focuses on the adventures of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy who deciphers a canine murder mystery in the English town of Swindon. The play took home four different awards at the 2015 Tony Awards.

A marquee for the play's London run, back in 2013. Photo by Andy Roberts/Flickr.


It's a great story. But for Rowe, the play had a personal connection as well.

The play's main character, Christopher, has autism — just like Rowe. He was excited to see a popular play put an autistic character's narrative front and center, even though the actor playing Christopher wasn't autistic.

Rowe himself. Photo from Mickey Rowe, used with permission.

"I think that the show has really done a lot to open people's minds to people who think differently," Rowe told Upworthy in 2015. "It's a bold and inspiring decision to produce a story narrated by an autistic character. I can't wait to see where the show and the narrative of Autism Spectrum Disorder goes in the future."

Two years ago, Rowe probably couldn't have guessed the future of the show would one day include him as well.

On May 11, the Indiana Repertory Theatre announced that Rowe will be stepping into the role of Christopher in their 2017 production of the play.

This makes Rowe not only the first autistic actor to play the role, but also one of the first autistic actors to depict any autistic character in a major production.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre. Photo from Mickey Rowe.

"I never dreamed I would get to play Christopher in this show," Rowe wrote to Upworthy after the news of his casting broke. "It is such an honor to get to represent the autism community."

"When I found out I got the role, it brought tears to my eyes," Rowe says.

This kind of representation, not just for characters but in the actors who play them, is important.

"Everyone should be able to go to the theatre or turn on their TV and see somebody like them, someone who thinks like them," Rowe writes. "Everyone should also definitely be able to go to the theatre or turn on their TV and see somebody who is very different than themselves."

There are 56 million Americans with disabilities living in the United States, according to the 2010 Census. That's nearly 20%. But a 2016 analysis of TV shows found that less than 1% of TV characters had disabilities. Furthermore, when a story does feature a character with a disability, more than 9 times out of 10, that character is played by a non-disabled actor.

"Young actors in this country who have disabilities need to be able to see role models who will tell them that if you are different, if you access the world differently, if you need special accommodations, then the world needs you!" Rowe says.

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" featuring Rowe's performance will run from September through November 2017.

The play is directed by Risa Brainin and will be performed at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Syracuse Stage.

You can check out a video of Rowe's audition below:

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Maria Ducasse of Brooklyn is an inspiring example of how one person can unite a community to ensure no one loses their pet because of hardship.

Three years ago, she founded East New York Dog Lovers a nonprofit that has grown to have 29 foster homes, 200 volunteers, and helped reconnect more than 50 dogs with their people. It's a safety net where struggling pet owners get emergency fostering, help with medical bills, and food for their fur babies.

"Our biggest mission is to end pet surrendering," Maria told Chewy. "So whatever help may be needed—food, vet care, whatever you need to keep your pet at home—we are willing to supply and help you."

Maria has arranged for people struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, and medical emergencies to connect with fosters who care for their pets until they're back on their feet. Her hard work keeps families intact and pets safe.

"We just keep getting bigger," Maria says. "Every time we go out there and help somebody, they're like, 'I'm in—how can I help?'"

Maria's wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Community Pet Foster."

Tired of avocados turning brown? Try this simple trick.

Ah, the delicious, creamy avocado. We love it, despite its fleeting ripeness and frustrating tendency to turn brown when you try to store it. From salads to guacamole to much-memed millennial avocado toast, the weird berry (that's right—it's a berry) with the signature green flesh is one of the more versatile fruits, but also one of the more fickle. Once an avocado is ready, you better cut it open within hours because it's not going to last.

Once it's cut, an avocado starts to oxidize, turning that green flesh a sickly brown color. It's not harmful to eat, but it's not particularly appetizing. The key to keeping the browning from happening is to keep the flesh from being exposed to oxygen.

Some people rub an unused avocado half with oil to keep oxidation at bay. Others swear by squeezing some lemon juice over it. Some say placing plastic wrap tightly over it with the pit still in it will keep it green.

But a YouTube video from Avocados from Mexico demonstrates a quick, easy, eco-friendly way to store half an avocado that doesn't require anything but a container and some water.

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Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

From delightful musical TikTok collaborations to surprise engagements, here are 10 delightful finds from this week.

Hello, everyone!

At Upworthy, we're on a mission to make the world a better place, and part of that mission includes bringing more joy into people's lives. Sometimes that means sharing stories of hope and humanity to warm your heart, and sometimes it means sharing silly animal videos you can't help but laugh at.

Each week, we round up 10 things from around the internet that spark joy and delight in the hopes that it brings a little lightness to your day. If you've had a long week and are looking for some reasons to smile, here are 10 of them:

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Millie the Noodle Horse.

One of the most humane trends in the past 30 years of American life has been the decline in greyhound racing. After hitting its peak in 1985, state laws have led to the closure of racetracks across the country.

By the end of 2022, there will only be two active greyhound tracks in the United States, both in West Virginia.

The change in attitudes toward dog racing has meant an increase in greyhounds being rescued and living second lives as family pets. Greyhounds are great around children, have happy dispositions and, even though they're fast on the track, they don't require a lot of exercise.

This has led them to have the nickname the "45 mile-per-hour couch potato."

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